Macropus rufogriseus (Red-necked Wallaby)
Red-Necked Wallabies inhabit the coastal forests of Eastern Australia and Tasmania and are named for the reddish fur on their nape and shoulders. Wallabies belong to a group of animals known as ‘Macropods’, Macro meaning large, pod meaning foot. All Wallabies and Kangaroos have extremely powerful legs and tails. Their large muscular hind legs are used for hopping and their powerful tail used for balance as well as providing comfortable support whilst sitting. All Macropods are marsupials; Young are born after a very short gestation period of around 30 days and continue their development in their mothers pouch for up to 280 days. Interestingly, females that get pregnant outside of their normal breeding schedule can delay giving birth for up to eight months if conditions are not correct.
Essentially grazers, Red-Necked Wallabies are largely solitary animals although loose groups of up to 30 often share common feeding grounds. They are mainly crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, spending most daylight hours resting in cover. They cool themselves by licking their hands and forearms, mimicking our sweating. As the saliva evaporates it cools the skin and blood of the Wallaby. They will also perform this during nervousness and excitement.
Due to the reduction of hunting pressure in recent years, the population of Red-Necked Wallabies has expanded in numbers. There are also colonies of Red-Necked Wallabies in England following the escape of captive animals from Zoo’s in the 1940’s. There are mainly found in the Peak District and the Ashdown Forest.
Our Wallabies have very friendly natures and many will allow themselves to be petted. Their enclosure is semi-open to allow them access to park visitors when they feel like it which is most of the time! You can buy small bags of Wallaby Food to tempt them in closer for photograph opportunities or to simply give them a treat and to have a closer experience with one of these enchanting animals!